Origami Solar, developers of a patent-pending steel frame for solar modules, has taken the grand prize in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) American-Made Solar Prize competition. Origami Solar was one of two winners among 10 hardware finalists in the competition’s Go! Demo Day that took place at the RE+ event in Anaheim. Calif. last week.
The company was awarded a $500,000 cash prize and $75,000 support voucher to accelerate market adoption of their technology, bringing their total award throughout the American-Made Solar Prize competition to $650,000 in cash and $150,000 in support vouchers.
The Solar Prize helps advance new innovations that will enable rapid deployment of solar energy and achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s decarbonization goals.
Origami Solar’s innovation allows solar module manufacturers to lower costs while protecting against supply chain disruptions and enable the energy transition by facilitating domestic ramp-up of module production. Origami Solar module frames have unique design capabilities enabled by precision roll forming of steel that delivers superior strength and performance equal to or better than traditional aluminum frames, the company says. The roll forming process is better-suited to high-volume production and allows steel to be optimized in ways that bring features and functionality to the finished frame.
Origami’s steel module frame is readily manufacturable and meets or exceeds all UL and IEC standards.
“We’re excited and grateful to be named a grand prize winner of this prestigious competition,” says Gregg Patterson, CEO of Origami Solar. “In this next chapter for the solar industry, energy independence is no longer optional; improved performance and domestically produced frames are essential. We believe that making solar energy greener is our moral obligation, and re-shoring the supply chain from China at lower costs is the culmination of that journey.”
“Our steel frame designs and worldwide group of steel suppliers are uniquely able to deliver and scale this transformational solution now,” adds Patterson. “We started this mission almost three years ago aiming to bring significant and positive change to our industry and benefit the planet. We now have demonstrated our ability to deliver on this vision and have lined up the strategic partners to make it happen.”
The American-Made Solar Prize is a multi-million-dollar prize competition designed to energize U.S. solar innovation through a series of contests and the development of a diverse and powerful support network that leverages national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the country. The American-Made Solar Prize is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office and directed and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.